Out Of The Box Brownies: Magical brownie recipes that start with a box
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Mountain Dew Cupcakes

June 25, 2013 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Creative, Decadent, Fruit, Fun For Kids, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path, Party, Products

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This is the FIRST CUPCAKE for my site, and I did NOT make this decision lightly… in truth, once I had the idea for this citrus-y, lemon-y, lime-y dessert, I knew that the Mountain Dew Cupcake simply HAD to be created. Just look at it. It’s like the headline should be “Cupcake Escapes from Kitchen and Rules the X-Games.”

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BAM! Yeah, THAT just happened, right in your mouth.

CITRUS BATTER INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
  • 3 eggs
  • One 6-ounce cup lime yogurt (I used Yoplait Key Lime Pie flavor)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water

MOUNTAIN DEW SWIRL INGREDIENTS

  • Two 12-ounce cans Mountain Dew (about 3 cups)
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3-4 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup of the citrus batter, above
  • 14 drops green food color
  • 3 drops yellow food color

CITRUS FROSTING INGREDIENTS

  • One tub lemon frosting (I used Duncan Hines Creamy Lemon)
  • 3 drops green food color
  • 2 drops yellow food color
  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

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DIRECTIONS

Put on your shin guards and crash helmet. Keeping one hand on the handlebar of your BMX, use the other hand to simultaneously pour both cans of Mountain Dew into a medium saucepan. You will start with about 3 cups of liquid in the pan.

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We’re going to reduce that Mountain Dew down to its intense, dewy essence. There are no rules on how to reduce Mountain Dew, so I made ‘em up: Pow! Boil that bad boy on high heat for about 15-20 minutes until about 3/4 cup of liquid remains.

During the 15 minutes when that’s boiling down, squeeze about 3-4 tablespoons of lime juice into a small bowl and mix in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Set that aside for later.

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Check your boiling pan. When you have about 3/4 cup of molten Mountain Dew left, it’s time to move forward.

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It may be hard to judge how much is in the pan, so you can use a heat-safe Pyrex glass measuring cup to check. That’s what I did.

Keeping the pan off of the heat, return The Dew to the saucepan, except for about 1/8 of a cup, which you will mix right into the cornstarch mixture. The goal is to get the cornstarch mixture warmed up a little.

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Add cornstarch mixture to the pan, whisking it quickly, like you’re pedalling up an extreme hill on the BMX course. Don’t worry if you get flecks of lime goo on your face and apron — pretend it’s the mud you’re flinging onto the competitors behind you.

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Return the mixture to medium or medium-high heat for just another minute or so, until it thickens up to the consistency of pudding. It will look a lot like lemon meringue pie filling at this point. This, my MD friends, is the basis for your Mountain Dew Goo. Pour it into a medium-sized bowl and set it aside while you make the cake batter.

Put all 5 of the batter ingredients into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed.

It should be thick, smooth, and creamy. Don’t eat it.

Take about 3/4 cup of the lemon batter and add it to the bowl of the Dew Goo.

Mix together and then add 14 drops of green food coloring.

Getting close. Now add 3 drops of yellow food coloring. Mix until the color is even. You can tweak it to be greener or yellower based on your personal preference. (I found this particular shade to be a nice balance against the yellow of the batter. Just one DewGirl’s opinion.)

Set the green goo aside while you fill all your muffin cups about 1/4 full with the yellow batter. I used foil muffin cups in silver and green, left over from Christmas; they were just so Dew-like.

On top of that layer, add an edge-to-edge layer of the green Mountain Dew Goo. This layer should bring each muffin cup up to about half full.Be sure to spread the green from edge to edge so you can’t see any of the yellow batter.

Top off each cupcake with a final layer of the yellow batter, making sure to cover the green entirely. I found the easiest way to do this was to spoon a circle of batter around the outer edge of the cup and then cover over the middle. Each cup should be pretty full, about 3/4 to 5/6 full.

Bake at 350 F for 17-21 minutes, until a toothpick test reveals a nicely raised (but still slightly moist) and spongy-set cake. During baking, something wild happens to that green layer, which gets all loopy, swirly and tossed around as the batter rises and expands. You’ll see what I mean when you take your first bite.

Set aside to cool completely. In the meantime, mix your frosting. Put the pre-made lemon frosting into a medium bowl. Mix in 3 drops of green and 2 drops of yellow food coloring. Feel free to tweak until you get the Mountain-Dew color that YOU like.

Add 3/4 cup of powdered (or confectioners) sugar. Mix until it’s completely lump-free.

Sprinkles make everything better. My opinion: These Mountain Dew Cupcakes just do NOT look extreme without some garish garnish on top. POW! Now THAT’S better!

You don’t HAVE TO refrigerate these, but they are so much more refreshing when you do. Chill off on a summer day with one of these bad boys. YEAH!

Keep your eyes on the prize: the one, the only, Mountain Dew Cupcake!! 

Chewy Ginger-Lemon Blondies

December 10, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Chilled, Cream Cheese, Decadent, Fruit, Holiday, Nut-Free, Off the Beaten Path

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Christmas baking is so much fun, but why make ginger-bread (again) when you can make something that’s… ginger-better? This chewy, lightly lemony treat will be a way for you to “zag” at the Christmas cookie exchange, when everyone else is “zigging” with the typical peppermint or chocolate treats. Introducing… the Chewy Ginger-Lemon Blondie! 20121210-230317.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 box lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, divided
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1 cup candied ginger, finely chopped (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 box cream cheese (8 ounces)
  • 3.5 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Microwave 1/2 cup of the butter for about 30-40 seconds, just until melted. Into a large mixing bowl, add lemon cake mix, 1 egg, and melted butter.

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Mix on low to medium speed for about a minute, until it is thoroughly mixed. It will form a very thick dough, not a “pourable” batter. Next, measure out about a cup of candied ginger, pour it onto a cutting board, and get your best chopping knife. (Candied ginger often comes in bite-sized pieces, which is much too large for this recipe.) Cut the candied ginger into small pieces, about the size of a pinkie fingernail or smaller.

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Put the minced ginger into the lemon dough and set the mixer on low for about 30 seconds, just until blended. Put the dough into a greased 13×9-inch pan and, using your hands, spread it into an even layer.

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Back to the mixer! In a new bowl, whip the cream cheese on medium to high for 1-2 minutes until it is fluffy and creamy. Add the remaining 2 eggs. Microwave the remaining 1/2 cup of butter for 30-40 seconds in the microwave until melted, and then add that to the bowl.

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Mix on medium until smooth, about a minute. Add the sifted confectioners sugar and mix completely into a rich, gooey batter. If you want a more lemony result, add 1 tsp of lemon zest to the batter. Pour batter over the bottom layer and spread evenly.

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Bake at 350 F for 35-45 minutes. When it’s done, it should be getting toasty brown on the edges. It will still be fairly soft in the center, but not liquidy. I used a center-placed toothpick to check for doneness, making sure the pick didn’t come out “wet.” (You can eat it while it’s still warm or after it reaches room temperature. If you’re not going to eat it right away, store it covered in the refrigerator. It’s delicious right out of the refrigerator — or heated in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.)

When serving, you’ll see that the lemon cake has taken on a golden tan color, that your sweet topping batter has turned tender and rich, and that the pieces of ginger have retained their magical, zingy bite–the Chewy Ginger-Lemon Blondie is a Christmas miracle, for sure!

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Frozen Lemonade Blondie

July 12, 2012 By: Denise Leo, Global Brownie Ambassador Category: Blonde Brownie, Chilled, Creative, Fruit, Off the Beaten Path, Super-Simple

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O lemonade

O lemonade

You’re tasty in a blondie

It’s hard to resist the refreshing citrus-y snap of a frozen lemonade cookie bar, so I suggest that you try this super-fast and super-easy recipe for your next summer picnic or for tonight’s dessert.

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INGREDIENTS FOR A SMALL (5.5″ x 7″) PAN

  • 1 12-ounce package break-n-bake cookies (sugar cookies or white chocolate macadamia)
  • 8 ounce tub of Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 1 tsp Kool-Aid unsweetened lemonade powder (one packet has about 2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp water
  • 5-7 drops yellow food color
  • Garnish of your choice (I used cute lemon jellies)

TO USE A 9″x9″ PAN, DOUBLE THE INGREDIENTS
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DIRECTIONS
Use spray vegetable oil (I used Pam brand) to grease a small pan. I used a pan that was only 5.5″ x 7″ and it was about perfect. If your pan is bigger, you’ll probably want to use more cookie dough and more CoolWhip.

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Into the pan, plop the entire package of raw cookie dough.

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Use your fingers to evenly press the dough to the edges.

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Bake until golden brown at 350 F. It will take about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and the amount of dough in the package. This will be the crust for your blonde brownie. Cool crust completely.

Into a small bowl or cup, pour one teaspoon of the Kool-Aid unsweetened powdered drink mix (only one teaspoon, not the whole packet).

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To the powder, add 1/2 teaspoon of water and mix thoroughly.

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Pour this tart, lemony mixture into the Cool Whip and mix completely.

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The result will be an off-white colored topping. You may want to add a few drops of yellow food coloring. I added 7 drops, and the result was light, sunny-looking, and pretty.

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Spread your lemonade whip on top of the completely cooled crust.

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Cover and either refrigerate or freeze.

If you freeze it for longer than an hour or two, be sure to thaw it for about 30 minutes before trying to cut and serve (because the cookie gets ROCK hard).

Garnish just before serving. I used these cute lemon-wedge-shaped jellies that I found at my grocery’s candy aisle.

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It’s chilly, refreshing, and a nice summery treat…it’s the Frozen Lemonade Blondie!

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